They ask Centre, State to ensure his speedy and safe release

Relatives of Alex Paul Menon, Sukma District Collector kidnapped by Maoists, conveyed their pain and anguish to State and Central governments in a petition submitted to the Collector at the weekly grievance day meeting held at the Collectorate here on Monday.

The relatives from Samathanapuram near Valliyoor stated that Mr. Alex's quest for helping the poor made him a civil servant. He had done a lot for the welfare of the disadvantaged and was popular among rural masses of Sukma district.

The Central and the State governments should take steps for his speedy and safe release.

A few Dalit organisations and Kamaraj Sivaji Pothunala Iyakkam members also submitted similar petitions to the Collector.

Meanwhile, DMK president M. Karunanidhi appealed for the release of Mr. Menon. He wanted the Centre to take all steps to ensure the officer's safety and his safe return.

Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam general secretary Vaiko has also written to the Prime Minister requesting him to take appropriate steps for the safe return of Mr Menon.

Mr Vaiko, who called on the family members of the IAS officer, said the people of Tamil Nadu were gravely concerned about the officer's safety. An alumni meet of the Department of Management Studies, Madras University, of which the officer is an alumnus, held a meeting on Sunday and appealed to its members to pray for his safe release.